BIBLE HILL, N.S. - Clare Maguire has been writing music since she was 13 years old.
Taking inspiration from what she was doing and how she felt at the time, the Bible Hill teenager could turn anything and everything she did into a song.
Growing up in a musical family, her parents were always supportive when it came to her music and writing, so when her mother called her one night while she was studying to suggest she submit a song to CBC’s Searchlight, she decided to take a shot.
“I already had a track that was partially recorded and the application process was pretty simple, so I figured why not,” said Maguire about entering the competition.
Maguire, alongside over 2,000 other artists across Canada, submitted an original song to the Searchlight competition, a nation-wide song contest that highlights Canada’s up and coming artists.
Competition winners will have the chance to perform at Juno Fest during the 2019 Juno Awards, a performance slot at the CBC Music Festival in Toronto, and will receive a week-long residency at the National Music Centre in Calgary to record new music.
As she already had it recorded, Maguire submitted her song ‘Rosemary & Thyme’ to the competition, a soft yet heartfelt piano driven piece about missed opportunities.
“The song is about a few different things put together,” said Maguire.
“There is a friendship aspect in it, a bit of romance, and a part about being stressed out as well. it’s about having a chance and missing it by a hair, so there is like a hundred different ‘almosts’ in the song.
“It’ll be really ironic if I don’t make it to the next round with this song.”
Her song is currently in the first round of the competition, which wraps up on Feb. 28 when the 2,073 submitted songs is shrunk down to a selection of 100, 50 of which are chosen by judges while the other 50 are selected by public voting.
The same process is followed for round two, shrinking the selection down to 10 finalists.
Maguire is currently enrolled at Mount Allison University where she’s studying psychology and French, but even though music isn’t part of her studies, it still holds an important role in her life.
“I knew university was going to be busy, so I went and joined as many music things as I could.” She said.
“Right now, I’m in the audition choir at Mount A as well as the a cappella society. There is also an album of student songwriters that I am co-producing where all the proceeds go to cancer research. I recorded my song for the album initially.”
Winning the competition would help launch Maguire’s music career to unimaginable heights, but it won’t come easy.
Her song is pitted against thousands of other Canadian artists, including another local talent – Charlie A’Court.
A’Court, a Truro musician, began performing on stages with his father as a teenager, and has released five albums since 2003 while touring around Canada and Australia.
His most recent album, Come On Over, won the 2015 Blues Recording of the Year award for both the East Coast Music Awards and the Nova Scotia Music Awards.
While A’Court’s music career is solid regardless of how the competition turns out, for Maguire, winning could be the difference between performing at open mic nights or performing at festivals.
“Winning would mean I could follow this crazy dream without worrying too much about how it is going to happen,” she said about the competition.
“Right now, I’m just performing at a few coffee houses, so it would be nice to get some more gigs, and one of my future goals is to put together an EP. winning would be a bit of a balance though, figuring out how to do everything while finishing my undergrad.
“I do want to continue in the sciences, but winning would be a huge opportunity.”
Artists can be voted for once a day on the CBC Searchlight website (www.cbcmusic.ca/searchlight), and voting is open until Wednesday, Feb. 28.
Maguire’s song ‘Rosemary and Thyme’ can be found at www.cbcmusic.ca/searchlight/3954 and A’Court’s song ‘Refuse to Fear’ can be found at www.cbcmusic.ca/searchlight/4482.